Source: Oak Ridge Today | John Huotari | November , 2016

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Protomet Corporation is pictured above in the Bethel Valley Industrial Park in south Oak Ridge on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

Protomet Corporation has purchased about 20 acres of former federal land on Bethel Valley Road in south Oak Ridge, and the company is evaluating that property as one option as it plans for a $30 million expansion that could add 200 jobs over a five-year period.

On Tuesday, Protomet founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bohanan said the company prefers to stay in Oak Ridge, but there is no guarantee. The 19.47-acre parcel on Bethel Valley Road will have to be cut and filled, and drainage will have to be redirected, Bohanan said. It’s not clear yet how much that work might cost.

Protomet needs about 100,000 square feet for its expansion, which was announced in February. Protomet now has 70 workers in a 40,000-square-foot building on eight acres, so the company could more than triple in size.

“The new facility will dramatically increase Protomet’s capacity and capabilities for the customers it serves,” Bohanan said. “We have already started purchasing equipment for the new facility, and some of it is already in use at our current facility.”

Protomet bought the Bethel Valley Road land from the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board for $103,000 on October 20. The property, which was previously owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, is west of Protomet and east of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“This is a big step in our ability to evaluate this site as an option,” Bohanan said.

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